X-Men save the midlands!


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A nice idea this local pub thing. Make lots of them, quite small so everyone has to squash in. The impact of noise and fervor make for an exciting place where everyone says the first word of their sentences three times, each one louder than before, in order to allow the rest of the sentence to flow and be noticed next in the cacophonous line. Like a family of 10 children all needing airtime.

Every London establishment has at least 2 people in it. Event the crummy looking ones. Inevitable with such a vast population, everyone’s got to go somewhere and there’s only so many seats, bars, bottles and kebabs that the people can go to before they fill up and they have to choose the smaller, grottier ‘next door’ establishment.

Yesterday I travelled midlands on a Virgin train. And here, speeding across the english midlands in fast train, being offered wi-fi at a cost, refreshments at a cost and I have to wee at …no, that’s free. The recorded message in the loo warned me not to flush, rubbish, food, hopes, dreams or gold fish down the toilet. So I didn’t. And now I sit, enjoying my own free time. The Virgin train I’m on has a plaque bolted to the outside that says ‘X-Men. Day of Future Past’. Obscure. What shall I expect on this ride? A movie? Or the chance to be rescued by a super hero should a darstardly, moustache twirling villain decide to arrest the train for his evil ways? I feel strangely safer for this plaque. Go X-Men!

The reflections to midlands of Tasmania and England are true; topography similar, rolling, green and easy on the tires. Alighting at a midland station for an arts centre within a university. There’s something quite cliche about the rambling of students across a campus. Bags on one shoulder, never too fashionable, what they can afford, which breed its own significant fashion. The clothes are honest and the minds that wear them are searching for meaning on campus. Searching for meaning through the minds of university professors who are gate keepers for a life only few will ever possess. And good. It seems the education system is largely designed to service those few.

In contrast, this midlands arts centre is a great, functioning example of engagement with university life through its student body. There is no discernible music institute within the university. It was designed that way specifically by its benefactor to avoid the trappings of an elite music ideology. So it runs an arts centre that coordinates ensembles for student experience directed by a small staff of workers. They have a massive roster of concerts, full-time technical and curatorial staff  running concerts workshops and an impressive subscriber base that keeps it moving through fresh ideas. Last week Alan Davis (QI) toured through, tonight, Soul-to-Soul on their 25th anniversary tour. (Back to life). I was here the last time they were big. Ouch, showing age.

It was a good ‘power to the people’ day, until the bus was running late, threatening my train trip home. T’was then the bus/transit/brit-rail maelstrom that brought my people power rush to a windy stumble, getting me to the rail station just in time to leap X-Men like onto the train for my London return. Those bus-driving moustache-twirling baddies will have to wait another day before getting their hands on this guy.

London bound again.


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